Govt seeks to contain opponents of clinical trials bill

With the increasing opposition to the draft law governing the organization of clinical medical research, known as the clinical testing law, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdelaal held a session to listen to opponents of the bill, while Health Minister Ahmed Emad Eddin contacted senior doctors in an attempt to contain the opposition to the bill.
Meanwhile, Emad Eddin held a meeting with Chairman of the Doctors Syndicate Hussein Khairy to discuss the matter.
Emad Eddin told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Khairy understood the draft law completely because it is organizing clinical testing for the first time in Egypt and is putting strict controls on experiments that are being conducted in hospitals outside of the ministry’s control.
Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar committed to keep silent during the crisis raised by a number of senior liver doctors, headed by Professor of Liver and Dean of Ain Shams Faculty of Medicine Mahmoud al-Metainy and President of Ain Shams University Abdel Wahab Ezzat, who both objected to the harsh punishments to be applied on violators of the law.
The syndicates of doctors and pharmacists have implicitly rejected the bill, to which Emad Eddin responded by saying that the law has the approval of the medical community and commits to international standards.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail supported the bill, drafted by Dr. Nadia Zakhary and reviewed and refined by specialized committees. The bill aims to counter random testing, conducted by hospitals on part of international pharmaceutical companies that use Egyptian patients as “test mice,” according to Emad Eddin.
Metainy meanwhile said that opponents of the bill are not totally against it as they have been calling for issuing the law since 2005.
He objected to the bill saying it violates all international standards, and requested its amendment, taking into account the comments made by the deans of medical colleges in Egypt.
On the other hand, Khairy revealed that the Doctors Syndicate also had comments on the bill, the most important of which is that the Supreme Council for Medical Research Ethics should be an independent council that has a balanced representation for the Ministry of Health, universities and scientific research centers and religious institutions.
Egypt is the second largest country in Africa that hosts clinical testing of drugs on patients, funded by multinational companies, according to state-run Al-Ahram news website. Ahram added that in February 2016, there were 57 clinical trials underway, and more than half of these trials were for tumors.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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